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Beyond wildlife corridors: Investigating and evaluating other urban wildlife enhancement projects

Over the course of the summer, I shall be analysing various urban wildlife enhancement practices taking place in the 7 Core Cities of England. Determining if these projects have been successful overall will be based on a set list of quantitative and qualitative ecological performance indicators. To obtain qualitative data or information not readily available through public sources, I will interview personnel who have/had key roles in wildlife enhancement projects in their respective Core Cities. An additional qualitative survey will be sent out to various “green space” and nature organizations to find out what projects they have been involved in and which ones have been successful at functioning as they were intended to.  The research questions I will try to answer are:

Why are wildlife corridors often the default urban wildlife enhancement policy of choice?


There hasn’t been significant data collection, experiments or academic evaluations of urban wildlife corridors to justify why they are the popular choice of urban wildlife enhancement projects. What about other methods? What is in use in the core cities? Is it working? What has been the most successful?

How can corridors and other methods of wildlife enhancement in urban areas be measured to determine overall success?


This brook flows through the Blackbrook Open Space,
an important wildlife corridor through a large
housing estate in south-east Taunton. Credit: Geograph
Background research and literature reviews will aid in designing a performance indicator model that will be used to summarise information gathered through the interviews. There will be both a quantitative and qualitative section, with indicators to be determined as my research progresses.
Ever since I can remember, I have always had a strong passion to explore and understand the natural world. Summers spent camping in the Canadian wilderness and years of Girl Guides were just some of the many activities I did growing up that helped me to appreciate, respect and responsibly interact with the environment. After my undergrad, I worked for a year in a National Park in the USA as an environmental educator and spent my days leading school groups through different ecosystems and teaching them how to be informed stewards to the natural world. When I read about this partnership topic dealing with biodiversity and urban wildlife enhancement projects for Bristol, I knew I could easily translate my interests in the conservation of wild spaces into an interest in protecting and enhancing urban green spaces.

The organisation I am working with is the Greater Bedminster Community Partnership, a group made up of local councillors, voluntary and community organisations, private businesses and public agencies within the Bristol wards of Southville and Bedminster. Their goals consist of improving and enhancing the quality of life for Bristol residents and community members in these areas. Members of this organization have been involved with local biodiversity counts and studies of local green spaces and have found that these two wards of Bristol are at the bottom in regards to wildlife biodiversity. The organization would like me to assess the impact of different wildlife enhancement practices and identify applicable practices that can be used in the BS3 area to enhance urban wildlife populations. I hope to use the results of my dissertation to present to the organization an assessment of different urban wildlife enhancement practices currently implemented in the UK and make suggestions on which practices would work best for their area.

Here are some related links for anyone interested:
The Greater Bedminster Community Partnership
The Avon Wildlife Trust
Natural Improvement Areas

Thanks for taking the time to read up on what I will be up to all summer long! If you would like to know more about my project or have any questions, comments or suggestions, please email me at: jk13039@my.bristol.ac.uk.
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This blog is written by Julia Kole, an MSc Environmental Policy and Management student at the University of Bristol.  Julia is from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

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Julia Kole

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